The Blurryface So Far

I have exactly 12.5 schooldays left in my high school career before our last day, May 19,and I am beyond excited. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a pretty kick-butt highschool experience, but I am so ready to move to San Diego for college, especially since today is signing day and everyone is repping their future-school-garb.

Pay attention to the top right and the bottom middle dots on BLURRYFACE. They hold the answer.

To make May 19th a better day than it already is, two of my favorite bands are releasing new albums this day; The Story So Far is releasing their third studio album, titled The Story So Far, and twenty | one | pilots is releasing their fourth studio album titled BLURRYFʌCE.

Even though their styles of music are completely different (TSSF is a pop punk band from Walnut Creek, California, and t|w|p is a pop-rap band from Columbus, Ohio) I love both bands, and they’re probably my favorite acts I’ve seen live.

Each band has already released three songs from their albums, and I love them all. The Story So Far has released the singles, “Nerve,” “Solo,” and “Heavy Gloom.” Twenty | one | pilots has released “Fairly Local,” “Tear in my Heart,” and “Stressed Out.

Radical doodles on the self-titled album cover.

I am beyond excited for these full releases, and I think they’re albums to certainly watch out for; I will not be surprised if both are leaders in their respective categories.

Ps. Recently, while browsing the SDSU Facebook Page, I ran across an incoming freshman who raps and has a mixed tape, and I’m quite jealous. Who knows, maybe this summer I’ll drop some fire of my own. Keep yr eyes and ears open, kiddos.

Playlist.

Prancing at Prom

I’ve never really been a fan of school dances, but Prom is an exception. Tonight is my senior prom, the last I’ll attend, and I must say, there is something exhilarating with everyone dressed fancily and dancing in a beautiful ballroom.

A cool action shot of me break-dancing at my dad's wedding five years ago.

A cool action shot of me break-dancing at my dad’s wedding five years ago.

My favorite thing about Prom is everyone wants to have a good time, so that is what everyone strives for. Whether they enjoy the songs that are playing or not, everyone dancing on the floor, jumping and screaming to the lyrics, and the energy is simply electrifying.

Not only do I love music, but I love to dance. Too often, people are too nervous to release their full dancing potential; the key to being a good dancer is to feel the music. Allow the rhythm and the bass to echo through your bones, travel throughout your extremities, and release in the form of dance. Whether it be the jitterbug or twerking, dance is a form of self-expression.

Whether you look ridiculous or not, you can always use the excuse “It’s interpretive.” Just remember, there’s no such thing as embarrassment on the dancefloor.

Ps. Be safe tonight kids, make smart decisions, etc. etc.

Playlist. 

  • Liberty and Prosperity Split by GDP and the Front Bottoms
  • Any music by Trampled by Turtles
  • Any music by the Devil Makes Three

Concert Season

The rain is beginning to stop, the weather is getting warmer, the flowers are begging to bloom, and the music is beginning to play.

That’s right, it’s concert season, big boy.

This weekend alone, I’ve been invited to three shows — Harbour (openers: Indigo Wild and Jane Decker) at Rohs Street Cafe on Friday, April 17, Coconut Milk (openers: Founding Fathers, Fine Animal, and Forage) at the Southgate House on the same Friday, and Rosedale (openers: Blue Society and The Swimsuit Edition) at Rohs Street Cafe on Saturday April 18.A poster for the upcoming Harbour show, which I am extremely excited about.

A poster for the upcoming Harbour show, which I am extremely excited about.

I’ve seen all of these bands more than once, and all are extremely talented, independent bands. Harbour and Coconut Milk are both from Cincinnati, so they frequently play in the are; however, Rosedale is one-man-band headed by Mike Liorti, and whenever he goes on tour, he has local musicians fill in the back-up instruments while he plays guitar and sings.

This weekend, I hope to attend the Harbour and Rosedale shows. Though Coconut Milk is releasing a new EP titled “We’re Sorry” this weekend, I haven’t seen Harbour in quite a while,and overall I favor their music more; though that in no way discredits the talent displayed by Coconut Milk.

I’ve met the musicians of all three bands, and all are very talented, kind people, embellishing the local music scene. If you ever get a chance to see any of these acts live, I certainly suggest doing so; you won’t miss out.

Dorkechstra Concerts

A Sassy Selfie with My Bass and I. Similar to may of the photos I took on those poor children's phones.

A Sassy Selfie with My Bass and I. Similar to may of the photos I took on those poor children’s phones.

This past Wednesday, we hosted our Strings Extravaganza concert, or what remained of it. Strings Extravaganza is usually a multi-hour concert with every orchestra from 5th-12th grade performing, plus various solo and ensemble pieces; however, this year due to busy scheduling, the concert this year only consisted of playing from the junior high and the high school, with no solo or ensemble pieces, resulting in a concert of about 50 minutes.

Concerts are probably one of my favorite parts of the orchestra experience because we get to take the difficult pieces we’ve been working on for months, and showcase them to an audience who hopefully appreciates our work.

This concert, we played two songs, Nimrod, composed by Elgar, and Palladio, composed by Karl Jenkins. Both songs have been a great fun to learn and play, for they prove the dimensions of our orchestra; we go from a powerful, strong song such as Palladio, to something sweet and smooth such as Nimrod within instants.

Though this wasn’t our best concert ever, it was still really fun because I love leading the bass section and  goofing off with my fellow bass members. For example, while the junior high students played upon stage, I and two sophomore basses scouted the violin’s tuning room for iPhones left in the open. Being Mariemont, this is an extremely common occurrence, so on every phone we found, we took copious amounts of selfies — I’m talking like 50 selfies each phone — and then placed them where we found them. It’s always fun hearing someone complain about multiple photos of three random basses on their phone.

We have two or three concerts left this year, and I’m excited for all of them. Though, I’m also rather bummed. I love orchestra, and my orchestra family. I love coming together and producing great music, and I love just spending time with the other orchestra members. When you’ve been taking the same class since 5th grade, you create true bonds with those around you. I sure my orchestra days do not end with my high school career.

Ps. Tomorrow morning, I embark on an 11 hour car ride from Cincinnati, Ohio to Navarre, Florida. The key to long car rides is a proper playlist. If you have good music, then the ride seems like a breeze. Hopefully I can play enough good music to not notice the longevity of the trip.

Playlist. There haven’t been any single songs I’ve been greatly jamming to lately; however, there are two albums which I have been vacillating between for the past week and those are To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, and I Don’t Like Sh-t, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt by Earl Sweatshirt. These are two rather different hip-hop albums, but both have great beats and are enjoyable to listen to.

The Good, The Badass, The Ugly

Oh my, there is so much to talk about music-wise since my last post. To organize, I’ll do this blog post in the typical, Spaghetti Western fashion: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good
Okay, more like “The Great” because this news that I’m about to reveal almost gave me a panic attack in seventh bell astronomy; so, without further hesitation: WHEELS IS GETTING BACK TOGETHER! Yes, that’s right, after a two year hiatus, the soulful, folk-y five-piece has announced that they’re releasing a new vinyl, and much more music! Not only is Wheels releasing new music, but also, their record label Great Guys Records (started by Conor Stratton, a member of Wheels) plans on releasing six albums from six bands this year, and if that isn’t wonderful news for a small, independent label, I’m not sure what is! Since they are a small label, they need help getting started with these projects, so GGR is holding an IndieGoGo donation page, to allow any philanthropic person to support their mission. Some friends and I plan on collecting $500 to donate and receive the donor package, which includes a house show of a GGR band of our choice; of course that’ll be Wheels!!

The Bad

The Bunbury Lineup thus far

I feel as this title may be misleading, for I don’t mean “bad” in a negative connotation, I mean “bad” as in “badass!” This badass music news, which I’m enthralled about is the release of the Bunbury lineup! If you don’t know, Bunbury is a three-day music festival that started in 2011, hosted at Sawyer Point, Downtown, Cincinnati. This year the festival is June 5-7, the weekend after school is let out for summer break, and this is the best lineup they’ve ever had in my opinion (and I’m sure many others would agree). I’ve attended Bunbury the past two years, but only a single day each year because I never liked enough bands on the lineup to purchase a three day pass. Though I’ve seen some amazing bands at Bunbury, such as twenty | one | pilots and The Flaming Lips, the past lineups do not compare. This year, twenty | one | pilots is returning, and many other amazing performers will be attending as well, such as The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, Brand New, Old Crow Medicine Show, and my favorite band,  The Front Bottoms! My goodness, I am ecstatic for this festival, and the fact that three day passes are only $155, it makes this show all the better.
I. CANNOT. WAIT.

The Ugly
This announcement doesn’t have much of a tag-along, it’s simply ugly. This week is tech week. For those unfamiliar with the term, tech week is the week of the opening night of a production, where everyone works together to pull together the show, and to fix any mistakes that may remain. This tech week will probably be the most stressful one yet. On top of having to stay after school each day until 8:30 pm for rehearsal, us seniors also have to finish the Senior Research Paper, which, for some reason, is ALWAYS due the Monday after the spring musical (thanks, Wiseman :P) — not to mention various amounts of homework from our other classes . Though tech week is stressful, and seemingly the longest week of the year, it’s much needed, and isn’t too bad because you’re surrounded by friends so close they’re practically family. Plus, once it’s over, we’re left with an amazing show; this weekend, if you don’t know, we’re performing “Singin’ in the Rain,” and it’s going to be an amazing show. Come out and support your Warrior Thespians!

Ps. This weekend, I’ve been out of town in San Diego, visiting San Diego State University. I’ve been quite busy, and haven’t been able to listen to much music other than on the flights.

Playlist. Though I haven’t been able to listen to much music lately, before I left for San Diego, I bought a new vinyl called “A Comp for Mom” from Run For Cover Records, and the music on it is great, especially the acoustic songs. I’d definitely say it’s worth a listen.

If You’re Reading This, Then You Probably Already Know What I’m Going to Talk About

Drake_-_If_You're_Reading_This_It's_Too_Late

Drake’s new mixtape cover, which could be mistaken for a Chik-fil-a Cow’s suicide letter.

On February 12, 2015, practically six years after the release of So Far Gone, rapper/hip-hop artist Drake, released a new, surprise mixtape.

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late pulled, as some would say “a Beyonce,” with the sudden release of this tape. Originally planned on being released for free, Cash Money Records decided to release the mixtape retail, while counting the mixtape as a contracted album. Possibly allowing Drake to soon leave the label and follow in the footsteps of his mentor Lil Wayne.

This proved to be a very smart move by Cash Money Records, for within the first week, the album almost reached Golden Status sales, and IYRTITL now sits atop Billboard’s top albums, R&B/Hip-Hop albums, and Rap albums in the United States.

This album is riddles with unique beats, and easily transitions from Drake’s soulful singing, to his rapid flow. Filled with content of his early life in Toronto and Tennessee, Drake reveals his roots and then turns those roots into a magnificent plant being this album.

I listened to this album continuously over our mini break, and it is certainly one I suggest.

PS. I don’t know how the rap game is is going to behave, knowing that Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, and many others are releasing albums this year.

Playlist. THIS ALBUM

So Much Music, So Little Money

I went to my first music festival, Bunbury, on July 13, 2013, and my second, Vans Warped Tour, a week later. In those two weeks, I saw more music and had more fun in two weeks than I thought possible in an entire summer.

An artistic collage of the banners on each of the music festivals I would like to attend,

An artistic collage of the banners on each of the music festivals I would like to attend,

I saw some of my favorite bands (Bunbury: Vacationer, MGMT, and twenty | one | pilots) (Warped Tour: The Story So Far, Man Over Board, Sleeping With Sirens) at these festivals. I had so much fun that I made sure to go back to each in 2014. They were still amazing.

By summer, I will be an adult, meaning I’ll be able to go to any music festival I want — well, as long as I can pay for it.

As of right now, there are 3-5 music festivals I want to go to: Bonnaroo, Skate and Surf, Warped Tour, Forecastle, Bunbury. Each are linked, and have great line-ups, and I want to spend my summer attending them before going off to college.

But I’m a highschool student who earns a bit more than minimum wage, and each of these concerts are rather expensive. How expensive? Well, if I were to buy the cheapest ticket for each festival, the total would be $682.99, not including taxes, fees, food, gas, and staying arrangements.

I have high hopes, but I realize the odds of me attending all of these is extremely low, though that’s okay. I will have a great summer and I will find concerts to attend.

Ps. I’ve been listening to lots of hip-hop lately, and I crave newer and newer material. In fact, I’m so exciting for all of the new hip-hop and rap music to come out this year, my next article will be about the most expected hip-hop albums of this year.

Playlist. Because I’ve been listening to mostly hip-hop lately, I strongly suggest looking up Indigo by Raury, BA.DA.$$ by Joey Bada$$, and Cognitive Dissonance II by Raz Simone. Two of these three albums were suggested to me by my friend Nick, who also runs a cool music blog. Check him out!

Vinyl Sleeves

I have been writing on this blog for almost five months now, and last night I realized that I have never made a post about vinyl, and that is what my blog is titled after! That changes today. I have been collecting vinyl since the summer of 2013, when I found “The Magical Mystery Tour” by the Beatles, and a few Monkees and Patsy Cline records in a storage closet of my old house. It was not until six months later, that I received my record player, a portable Crosley, from my now-ex-girlfriend for Christmas. The first day I got the player, I broke the needle — no one told me you were not supposed to touch the nylon tip.

After buying a replacement, I quickly learned the beauty of music recorded on vinyl. Everyone I know who owns a record player says it is the best way to listen to music, and I could not agree more. Not only is it mesmerizing that a minuscule needle sliding across grooves on a plastic somehow produces all of the sounds a digital copy would, but also it sounds better.

Some of my favorite records, which I own.  (From left to right: "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkle, "Coexist" by the xx, "Under Soil and Dirt" by the Story So Far, "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles, "the 45" by Wheels, "Magical Mystery Tour" by the Beatles, and "Self Titled," "Talon of the Hawk," and "Rose" by the Front Bottoms.)

Some of my favorite records, which I own.
(From left to right: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” by Simon and Garfunkle, “Coexist” by the xx, “Under Soil and Dirt” by the Story So Far, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles, “the 45” by Wheels, “Magical Mystery Tour” by the Beatles, and “Self Titled,” “Talon of the Hawk,” and “Rose” by the Front Bottoms.)

There is something unique about the way vinyl sounds, which gives the music a more intimate feeling. That Christmas, I was gifted around five vinyl records,and I was immediately ready to expand my collection. Vinyl’s are so much more than music, for they tell a story, and not simply because the lyrics on the record but also because of the album art, and all of the inscriptions written by the band within the casing. I began buying records from thrift stores because of their cover art — it’s quite the adventure buying records which I’ve never heard because they’re either a hit or miss, and if I don’t like them it’s okay because they’re extremely inexpensive. Though, I also have bought or received plenty of modern records, which are great presents.I now own forty-five vinyls (forty-one LPs and four 45s), and my collection will be ever expanding. Some of my favorite records being two Beatles’ vinyls, my signed “History of Bad Decisions/Rain in July” by Neck Deep, all three the Front Bottoms’ records, and every colored vinyl I own because colored vinyls are the coolest.

These are my wicked-cool, colored vinyls. (From left to right: "You're Gonna Miss It All" by Modern Baseball, "Songs Of EP" by the Story So Far, "Wildlife" by La Dispute, "What You Don't See" by the Story So Far, "A History of Bad Decisions / Rain in July" by Neck Deep, "Rooms of the House" by La Dispute, and "Wishful Thinking" by Neck Deep.)

These are my wicked-cool, colored vinyls.
(From left to right: “You’re Gonna Miss It All” by Modern Baseball, “Songs Of EP” by the Story So Far, “Wildlife” by La Dispute, “What You Don’t See” by the Story So Far, “A History of Bad Decisions / Rain in July” by Neck Deep, “Rooms of the House” by La Dispute, and “Wishful Thinking” by Neck Deep.)

Sadly, while listening to my record player, the vinyl sleeve on my “Now Playing” display shelf fell upon the arm of my record player, which slightly bent the needle. I now cannot listen to my records without brief skipping every occasionally. It is simple to buy and replace the needle; however, I have not had the time to do so because they are only sold at Urban Outfitters. I hope to replace it soon.

Ps. It is a new year, so I am looking for music! If anyone has any suggestions, I am willing to listen!

Playlist: There is no official playlist this week, I simply suggest listening to every record displayed in the two pictures; they are all great albums.

Album Review: “Forgettable” by Sorority Noise.

a2611523041_2I have a friend in California who I met on twitter because of our similar taste in music. Nearly two fortnights ago, she suggests I look up the band Sorority Noise, a developing pop punk band from Hartford, Connecticut. At the time, I was busy because of my production, but this past week I finally had time to devote myself to music and actually kick-it back with earbuds, enjoying the music fully.

I’m very thankful Forgettable by Sorority Noise is the first album I have listened to after the hiatus of enjoying new (or at least new to me) music.

Forgettable begins with Rory Shield, an up beat pop punk tune with smooth bass-line, which I always enjoy. This is one of my favorite songs on the album is a wonderful opener, filled with energy and lugubrious. The first line of the chorus is my favorite of this song, saying, “Tell me again that you don’t wanna break my heart, / And I’ll tell you again that it’s already broken.” Honestly, I feel this lyric in some way represents my new take on life and pursuit for romance.

The “Mediocre at Best,” the next song, is a low-toned, self-hate song. I’m not the hugest fan. I grew out of my “emo” phase around junior high, and have learned to love myself greatly since, and I think everyone should do the same.

“Dirty Ickes” starts with the nice strum of an electric guitar, and a nice, quick-paced verse. I love the ending of this verse (which completely contradicts the message of “Mediocre at Best”), which says, “And I’ve learned to love myself more than I could ever love you.” Screaming this line is one of the most lethargic feelings I’ve felt in a while. The only reason I would not call this song amazing is because there is just one line that greatly bugs me, “And I taught myself Norse / Just to sit on your back porch.” I feel like this line is just thrown away; it was written just to rhyme and fill space, and I hate when songs are written that way. I believe every lyric should have some weight, not just something to fill the empty space in a hook.

Following the up-beat, previous comes a song that makes me want to dance in a mosh pit, “Nick Kwas Christmas Party.” Beginning with a soothing acoustic guitar, the song quickly builds up into a full band. The last verse to this song is what really catches my attention. The narrator says how is life will be in the future, which I may need to start doing. Lately, I’ve been living day-to-day without a worry for what comes next, I have no idea where I see myself in five years, let alone 9 months from now — I just know I wish to be going to school in California.

Following “Nick Kwas,” comes another stereotypically-sounding, “emo” song called “Queen Anne’s Lace.” Though I probably like this song more than “Mediocre at Best,” I think is song is mediocre at best. Plus, The message of this song really irks me, with the last line pleading, “I only want to be your cure.” This is not how healthy relationship works, I’ve learned from experience.

The sixth song on the album is my favorite: “Still Ironically, this song about apathy actually made me feel some sort of emotion. When I first began to listen to Sorority Noise, I was going through a very grey time, nothing appealed to me and my mood was overall overcast and apathetic. Yet, this song came on and I related instantly, knowing what it feels like to be in the narrator’s position. I’m thankful for this song because it’s what brought me out of my overcast mood, and helped me begin to appreciate everything around me more than I have lately.

After “Still Shrill,” comes the best-titled song on the album, “Blonder Hair, Black Lungs.” I love the assonance. The song starts out slow and makes the listener believe that maybe this might be a slower song, but within 10 seconds, the song builds up to the narrator speaking about his wishes for his own death. I’m not suicidal, and I plan on living a very long life, but I love singing the lyrics to this song, especially in my car, while speeding down Columbia Parkway where I never see any cops running radar. I only have one complaint with this song and it’s the gasps between each “and I’ll die.” I feel like it would’ve been more effective for maybe the first or last time chanting this lyric, but I feel the edited-in gasp simply comes repetitive and a little corny. Nonetheless, I love the emotion that gasp adds to the piece.

After the emotional bravado of “Smooth Jazz,” However, don’t confuse its soothing rhythm with a happy song, because these lyrics are nothing but depressing., I think this is a very pretty song, and I like that it shows a softer suicide to Sorority Noise, though this song is not my favorite.

The twelfth and final song on the album is “Smoke.” This I love this song because it makes me want to cuddle, tbh. Even though this song is rather sad with the lyrics, “I won’t hold your hand because you’ll disappear.”  y heavy lyrics, flowing rhythms, and many undulations of rhythm, I can’t help but love this album. Also, the reappearing symbol of being a ghost is very relatable to angsty teens amongst the globe. This album is certainly something I think anyone should listen to whether they like punk music or not, besides, it’s free!

Overall, I’d rate this album is an 8/10. I certainly believe this band has promise to be quite successful in their genre.

Ps. Though I’ve been listening to Sorority Noise as of late, I’ve also been listening to other music that makes me feel emotion because lethargic music is the best. I’ve also listening to the band “The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die.”

Playlist. I don’t really have this playlist this week, because I suggest the entire album Forgettable, but I also suggest looking up the song “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, a song that just makes me ecstatic for life. Everytime I hear this song I want to dance and smile until the end of time. I don’t think it’s possible to be in a bad mood when listening to Sunday Candy.

What Does Music Mean to Me?

I figured, since I wrote a rather personal response, a close up of my face will allow any viewers to place my face with my writing.

I figured, since I wrote a rather personal response, a close up of my face will allow any viewers to place my face with my writing.

The other day, while having a simple text-message conversation with a friend of mine, she asked me the question, “What does music mean to you?” to which I replied with the following response:

“I could take the easy route and say, “Music means everything to me,” but music means so much more than everything to me. As I finish up writing a verse to a song, music means to me a form of expressing all of the sporadic thoughts I house in my mind. When I play my bass or guitar music reflects my energy. I will strum till my fingers blister over if that what it means to express myself in the only perfect language: rhythm.

When I go to a concert, music is my way of relating. Of organizing and releasing a mix of the emotions I harbor. Through the music and people surrounding me, I experience any and all emotions, and each show has a different purpose or effect.

When it comes to music in my free time, I have music for every possible activity. From reading, to showering, to the annual work out — I have music for it all.

Music does not simply mean everything to me, it is everything to me. From the loudest of punk shows, to the most soothing acoustic set; from the pounding of my heart against my ribcage, to the vibrations of the very atoms from which I’m structured, where I exist, music does too.”

Ps. I was rather satisfied with my response to this question, which is why I am sharing my views on my blog. Since this is a blog about my personal relationship with music, I feel the best way to show this relationship is describing how I feel about music, and how music makes me feel. Also, I’ve been rather busy the past two weeks, and haven’t had much time to devout my time to music; so, I’ve been listening to two albums on repeat throughout the week.

Playlist. This week I’m not creating a playlist, so much as suggesting and stating the music I’ve been listening to lately. This week, I’ve dedicated much of my listening to the album “Hummingbird” by the Local Natives and the EP “Kauai” by Childish Gambino. These are both chill, soothing music to listen to as everything slows down and approaches winter.